Vatican Document Says ‘Pansexual Culture’ Fueling Spread of HIV; Pope Says He Feels ‘Close’ to People Living With AIDS
The Vatican Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care on Tuesday released a message for World AIDS Day that said HIV/AIDS "is greatly fostered by a kind of pansexual culture that devalues sexuality" and that confining sex within marriage is the best way to stop the spread of the disease, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/29). The message, written by H.E. Barragan, president of the council, calls on Christian communities to "continue to promote the stability of the family and the education of children in a correct understanding of sexual activity as a gift of God for self-giving that is lovingly full and fertile." The message also highlights the Catholic Church's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and provides suggestions for actions that governments, pharmaceutical companies, scientists and health care workers, and the media can take to fight the pandemic (Pontifical Council message, 12/1).
Pope's World AIDS Day Message
Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday in comments at Vatican City to mark World AIDS Day said he "feel[s] close to those sick with AIDS and their families" but did not speak of the Catholic Church's ban on condom use, Reuters reports (Pullella, Reuters, 11/30). "The church has always considered the care of the sick an integral part of its mission," the pope said, adding, "I therefore encourage the many initiatives aimed at weakening this illness, especially by church communities" (Petroff, AP/Guardian, 11/30). Although some Catholic clergy have suggested that the use of condoms to curb HIV transmission would be the "lesser of two evils," the pope in a June speech to African bishops said that contraception is one of many trends contributing to a "breakdown of sexual morality." He added that abstinence and fidelity are the only "fail-safe" ways to prevent the spread of HIV (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/13).